There's only so much a girl can swallow

Tuesday 22 January 2013

There's only so much a girl can swallow

JUTE Theatre Company will launch its 21st year with a sharp, funny and engaging new work – Soph and the Real World, which premieres to Cairns audiences on March 8 to 23, marking what will be another milestone year for the Company.

JUTE’s Artistic Director and CEO, Suellen Maunder, who dons her directorial hat for the show, believes it will appeal to people who love music, clever language and who are looking to deepen their theatre experience.

Writer Jane Modric delivers a biting expose of familial dysfunction, with a quirky new take on the ubiquitous elephant in the room and all it symbolises, making for an illuminating, amusing and, at times, disturbing ride through the psyche of lead character Soph, and the sources of her neuroses.

"Jane began developing the script when she joined our Enter Stage Write program in 2009, and it was clear she was a natural writer. Her script is full of musical rhythm, and uses sparkling humour to reveal the story," says Maunder.

"Her musical background places music and musicians at the centre of this story, contrasting the sounds of the jazz trumpet against the trauma of life, as she deliberately unpicks the sometimes destructive nature of the creative persona.

"It will be delightful, I think, for our audiences to have that live musician on stage, that live trumpet player."

At the centre of the play is commitment–shy Soph, a poster girl for the stereotypical dysfunctional muso. Life may not be a fairytale but this is Soph’s story and she’s sticking to it – as long as she has wine, cigarettes and a stash of chocolate to help glue it all together.

The occasional visit from the charming Nick doesn’t hurt either. When her sister Alice arrives with bad news, Nick decides he wants more, and a trumpet-playing spectre appears from nowhere to harangue her, her body begins a revolution of its own. No amount of swallowing will prevent the revelations that follow.

"The play takes some thorny subjects and wraps a comedy around them," explains Maunder. "Real-life is often absurd, and survival requires a sharp sense of humour. It’s a provocative piece and I’m excited to be bringing it to Cairns audiences."

Modric elaborates, "As a writer, I’m not really interested in people who get things right. My characters are flawed; often awkward or messy in their relationships, and I’m interested in what makes them who they are, what drives them to do the things they do, to their mistakes.

"The characters in Soph and the Real World all have their own perspectives on the central issues of the play, and the tensions which arise from these differences will give, I hope, a certain dynamic and momentum to the performance.

"Everyone’s had the experience of swallowing too much – whether it’s that extra block of chocolate, or one glass too many. Soph just takes these things to extremes. She’s really just trying to get through the day. Something’s got to give, and here it’s her body saying 'enough!'’

Soph and the Real World will open on March 8 and will run until March 23. Tickets are on sale now through the JUTE box office, and are priced between $20 and $35. These can be purchased online at, by phone on 4050 9444, or in person between 10am and 5pm, Monday to Friday from our offices at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, 96 Abbot St, Cairns.

The opening night of Soph and The Real World is part of the International Women’s Day program.

JUTE's first show also opened on the 8th March, exactly 20 years since the first production. With the strong influence of women in the JUTE history and arts industry in Cairns, the opening night of Soph and The Real World will be an exceptional evening celebrating International Women Day in Cairns.

For the first time, JUTE is also offering a Theatre Night Out in Cairns package. The package includes dinner, a ticket to see Soph and the Real World as well as a return bus transfer to any location within 100 kilometers around Cairns. Conditions apply. Packages excluding dinner are also available. For more information contact 4050 9444.